People Need People!
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
Socialization – n. The activity of mixing socially with others.
Socialization is important for both care recipients and care givers! Sitting at home might seem easier at times, but it can also lead to isolation and loneliness, which can in turn lead to depression. While you can, make time each week to get out and about town with your loved one to avoid feeling alone in the world. (Hint! As usual, make sure to follow all doctor orders when it comes to outings and food related activities.)
While your loved one is able, visit friends, enjoy coffee or lunch at a café or diner, check out activities at your local church or community center, watch them make the donuts at Krispy Kreme, or check out a book at the library. (Hint! Frequenting the same establishments can help you build relationships with staff, who can in turn help you and your loved one feel welcomed and safe.)
IF getting in and out of the car becomes physically draining or overwhelming for your loved one, a simple drive around town will work. Hit up a local drive thru to pick up a coffee or lunch. Take a spring or fall drive to look at the beauty of God’s creation, or head to the park for a picnic in the car. Watching folks walking or riding their bikes, or playing with their children, can lend to a very enjoyable afternoon! If a drive seems too boring, liven things up with a Tour of Churches, or other historic sites, on your ride. Research the history on the internet and stop to share that history with your loved one on your tour. Or try the Car Ride Bingo game, which you can purchase at Cracker Barrel or on the internet. See the link below. These activities are also great for the brain!
WHEN it seems like getting out is no longer safe, socialization is still important for both of you. Invite friends in for coffee, tea, or lunch, gather your loved one’s garden club, poker pals, or bible study group, schedule regular pastoral visits, livestream church services, plan family game nights. (Hint! If your family lives too far to gather together, try some Facetime. Technology can be a great thing!)
Socializing doesn’t have to be a well-planned event for you and your loved one to reap the benefits. Take time to chat with the cashier as you purchase groceries, or the bank teller as you make a deposit. Say hello to the mailman delivering the mail, or start a conversation with the folks sitting around you at the doctor’s office. You would be surprised at the number of people who are also feeling lonely, and could use a simple smile and kind word.
If you worry about how others will respond to your loved one, there are business cards that you can purchase that let others know your situation. I’ve included a link below. These cards can be slipped quietly into the hands of a waitress, cashier, teller, etc., without embarrassing your loved one, and give the recipient the opportunity to respond with care and compassion.
Caring for a loved one living with dementia in the Charlotte, NC area? Looking for an opportunity to socialize in a safe and loving environment? Please join us for the Joy Filled Visits Memory Café. We meet on the 2nd Friday of each month, at the Levine Senior Center in Matthews, NC, from 1:30pm – 3:30pm!